What Would be Your Response (Or, Why I often shoot "off the beaten track")?
I'd like to share a couple of incidents that happened to me last weekend during a very quick trip down the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff National Parks, essentially to gauge whether my response to either was a,ppropriate, reasonable given the circumstances, or out of proportion to the matters at hand:
Incident 1: While shooting at Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park (from a vantage point seldom, if ever, used by tourist types), I had an individual repeatedly walk up/climb up to where I was shooting and attempt to check out my composition on what he thought was my LCD. Given that I was shooting with my F6, this proved to be something of a challenge. The said individual was brazen enough after several attempts to ask outright (While I was working on my shots!) to ask if I didn't find it difficult to work without an LCD screen. I responded - in a rather curt manner - that the camera I was using (the aforementioned F6) was "a film camera, you f*****g cretin," and that I was "technically competent enough with my equipment and skilled enough as a photographer that I did not an LCD at any rate!" Later I found myself vacillating between a tinge of regret for my incivility and continued anger at the intrusion when I was working. Did I go overboard?
Incident 2: The following morning, having travelled the length of the Parkway the previous afternoon, I shot the sunrise at Lake Louise. Not really sure how I was going to "lens the picture," and whether I wanted the image horizontal or square (as I disclosed in a post here some time back, I am a full frame shooter - I don't crop), I brought along two 35mm bodies (E100G in the F6 and E100VS in the F5) and a Blad with Velvia. My bag full o'stuff attracted the attentions of several parties: my cameras, the position I was shooting from (one individual stood directly behind me in an effort to see exactly how I was framing my shot), another was particularly interested in the exact placement of my tripod (easily discerned by the marks left in the frost). I spent perhaps 20-25 minutes shooting the sunrise and the early morning colours before packing up my gear and begin looking for other opportunities. I no sooner began walking away when two of the onlookers moved toward where I had been positioned. Acting quickly, I scuffed the marks with my hiking boots, remarking, quite audibly that "just for s***s and giggles, try to be original." Again, I had that nagging feeling that I had over-reacted, tinged with the anger that some folks couldn't be original if they tried. Thoughts? Comments? Anybody here have similar occasions when out shooting? Are these just the latest manifestations of some latent misanthropic tendencies I have?
Did you really call him a F...en Cretin? Sorry, but you are way out of line. Do you really need to talk to people like that?
My read is that you did over react. There are lots of really stupid people around; it's not necessary to bring yourself down to their level. Try to take the 'high ground'. You're obviously a good person, or you wouldn't be concerned by how you reacted.
I'm afraid I think you over-reacted.
IMHO, every "found" shot in public places is fair game.
And unless the interaction between the other people and you prevented you from doing what you were trying to do, it wasn't worth getting excited about it.
Although I'll allow you a certain level of grumpiness when shooting at sunrise (I'm definitely not a morning person).
If the others unreasonably got in the way or were disruptively noisy or rude, or were trying to copy something that you have set up (like a studio shot) I would agree with your response.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I think you overreacted, and missed an opportunity to let a few people know film is alive, and there's a reason we choose it.
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No argument here, Matt, regarding accessibility and freedom of movement in the public domain. What upsets me, though, Sir, is where of all the places to shoot from, I seem to have this unique ability to attract folks to the spots where I happen to be standing (my recent experiences are by no means unusual for me; perhaps I look like someone who knows what he is doing with a camera? LOL!!).
Originally Posted by MattKing
What annoys me more, though, is that a lot of folks don't seem to clue in to the idea that I am working, and I do not wish to be disturbed when doing so (apparently a lot of folks don't have the ability to read social cueing?).
I would think it would be a compliment. Obviously you at least look enough like you know what you are about that others want to try and do the same.
But I do have to admit, I too prefer solitude when focused on my own work, and have been a bit resentful and unreasonable when someone interrupts my thought process.
+1 for overreacting. Swearing at somebody because they're curious about how you're doing something is a little much.
Most people are pretty reasonable, and if you'd told him you were working and would explain things in a few minutes, he probably would have backed off.
They're using your compositions because for the last 30 years or so, the world has been furiously teaching people that they don't have to think for themselves or make any real effort.
I'm amazed they were up and about at that time of day.
when people come up to me and wonder what I'm doing with that antique camera i like to use it as a teaching moment -- they're obviously hoping to learn, and one way you learn is by studying folks better than you.
So, next time, tell them to come over, see what you're doing, take it as a compliment. Then explain why, give them some pointers. If you're half as good as you seem to think you are you should know that just clicking the shutter from the same spot, even with the same camera/lens/film, doesn't mean they get the same result.
No overreaction here, I would have done exactly as you did perhaps even taking it a step further. To tell someone that film still exist is of course a nice gesture but would not have change this persons persistence to take his or hers tripod legs into the same spot as yours before you could get out of there.
I have had the same experience as you did, did not take a shot as it was not worth a sheet of film but the over ambitious photographer kept pushing to get me out of there so he could set up his camera.
It is lack of respect from the other person that made you react as you did and your reaction is fine as far as I am concerned.